Mix, A Lot — Summertime Edition

cambridge peoples

Despite that the majority of what I listen to takes the form of DJ mixes, and that I probably download something around 3 per day, and that I probably like a good third-to-half of what I DL, I rarely find the time to write about all this great stuff I’m listening to. So aside from when I occasionally find myself with the impulse to tweet what I’m DLing, there’s this very occasional mix-a-lot series.

Given that this weekend offers many opportunities for road-trippin and cold-chillin — both of which go great with “mixtapes” — I thought I would take the moment to throw some mixxage your way. Included below are some recent rinses and oldies-but-goodies. Pardon the bullet points, but bang for your buck.

  • You can thank @pm_jawn for helping roll this ball down the hill yesterday with a request for “beach/driving/bbq music for the long weekend” — and of course one could go many ways with that range of related settings, them summery vibes. First thing that came to mind, though, were two beautiful African mixes that always find their way back on my device this time of year: Fatmix by Melonhands, and Slow Music from West Africa by Brian’s friend Simon.
  • Other recs for Alexis served to affirm my love for the sweet-and-sour dance-pop romps of Rich FourFour, one of the foremost interpreters of television reality today, the man for whom Jersey Shore would have to be invented if it didn’t already exist. His latest, No Enigma — “so named,” he writes, “because I could not bring myself to include anything from the weird drum-machine druids that helped define the sound I’m exploring here” — is a straight shot of adoiescent awesome (for me anyway). The mixing itself is not always pitch perfect — the first segue, from “Keep on Moving” to “Don’t Make Me Over,” two songs I adore, is, as Randy would say, “a lil pitchy, dawg” — but so are many of the tracks included, so it seems kind of apt. Also worth your time/drivespace are his New Jack Swing mix, his Freesytle freakout, and the one weh name Radio Dance 90s (I was a big fan of Kwamé — and those fckn polkadots — back in the day).
  • Summer always feels especially welcoming of that ol’ boom-bap bump. Maybe it’s the warmth letting the neck snap a lil easier. Anyway, it gives me another good excuse to return to a mix I’ve been digging for some time and haven’t had a proper chance to big up: the dense and definitive, despite the title’s humilty, “A Boom Bap Continuum” (note the indefinite article). Presented late last year by 2tall, Kper, and DJ Clockwork (including some great cassette-culture artwork), the mix traces out the state of the art in head-nodding hip-hop beats over the course of the last decade, with some tasteful connections/digressions into grime and ultimately more recent efforts in wonky leftfield abstrakt beats (but always with a good sense of snap). The pacing is amazing, reminiscent of another great hip-hop mix that works as summer soundtrack, Bobby Corridor’s Hip Hop Megamix. Most audibly, for me, it traces the wide and deep influence of the late great J Dilla, which, while we’re on the topic, I can’t help but recommend — despite them being a dime-a-dozen — a stellar, gorgeous Jay Dee mix by Deniz Kurtel for Wolf + Lamb (which, while on the topic of W+L, & even if I’ve mentioned it before, this mix by W+L artist Nico Jaar is still basically unfuckwitable at times like these). Also, if you dig Boom Bap Continuum, you might also like Kper’s/Laurent’s tributes to Digital Mystics & Loefah or what he calls post-rave bastard child music.
  • While we’re at a hip-hop angle, let me just make sure that you’ve heard DJ Primier’s mix-eulogies to Guru and Malcolm McLaren (you’ll have to scrounge around a bit for mobile versions of those). See also, Das Racist‘s inspired, hilarious mixtape from this spring, Shut Up, Dude (which is maybe topical again b/c Pfork finally got around to reviewing it? nah, this is just late notice — no worries, tho, they’re hard at work on a next one!). And if we’re riding for hip-hop straight-up, I gotta recommend, if you’re not already well familiar, the Rub’s History of Hip-hop mixes, which they’re rolling out one for every year, now spanning 1979 to 2004, with the last couple arriving just in the last week.
  • It kind of goes without saying that a large part of my phone’s gigs are occupied by the regular flow of amazing, future-present mixes coming from what I think of as the extended Night Slugs family, a bunch of great DJs on resonant wavelengths: Bok Bok, L-Vis, Kingdom, Girl Unit, Manara, Ikonika, Nguzunguzu, etc. I’m sorry to say that I can’t be bothered right now to go back collecting links for all these fine folks and their recent output (ok, here’s one), but a little googling will get you a long way. Better yet: follow them all on Twitter (see the links back there) for breaking news about the latest greatest.
  • Or maybe you’re in the mood for a globe-trotting exploration of the sound of house with Crooked Clef as your guide? How about a little Panama Doaba, aka MPC & Korg assisted “hiphop remezclas of Panamanian calypso, funk and cumbia from the 1960s & 70s” cooked up by the Gnawledge crew? Or perhaps a double shot of bubble’n’juke c/o Massacooramaan aka the driven, dynamic, and downright dope Dave Quam, who’s been grinding out one of the best music blogs out there and with whom I’m conspiring to kickstart a bubbling book.
  • I want to end, tho, by nodding to some mixes that knocked socks off well before the internet began belching them out at a rate that would humble an Icelandic volcano. I’m talking about the mighty Poirier’s Grimey Land, recorded on a request from Mary Anne Hobbs back in 2007 and recently re-upped for your listening pleasure. A half-hour of blistering African hip-hop (or “crunk and grime” in GP’s words), I quite agree with him when he says that “The tracks in the mix still sounds fresh!” That said, I confess that I remain more partial to his earlier effort in the same vein, originally dropped on his MYSPACE BLOG in Jan 07 (whatwhat?!), Mix Afrique, which is a little scarce on the webs these days thanks to some (c) disputes, but see what you can scare up if curious.

Pardon — and thanks! — to all the mix-makers out there that I’m unable to big-up right this very moment. Plz keep on!!

(& if anyone has anything to add, by all means…)

Happy long weekend & happy summer!